Young women have always come to Evangerline Trice for help when that certain time of month comes around. They know the volleyball coach at Duncanville High School keeps supplies ready for girls in need.
“That’s almost an every other day situation. Especially when you’re building relationships with young ladies and they feel like they can trust you.”
Recently, Coach Trice became aware of a larger issue that many people may be unaware of. It’s called ‘Period Poverty,’ and it directly impacts young women’s education.
“The main problem is we have young ladies who are literally missing school because they don’t have menstrual products,” Coach Trice said. “Or their mothers are having to choose between buying groceries or buying basic necessities such as tampons and pads.”
Alaya Lecoq, a senior and co-captain of the volleyball team, said she understands when her friends feel uncomfortable about being at school if they’re unprepared.
“When you don’t have the resources, you would rather stay home and you can handle it faster at home than at school where you have to sit in class for an hour or two hours and you can’t fix the situation,” Alaya said.
Tesla Gomez said it can be awkward to talk to male teachers about the issue or to explain why they need to go to the nurse’s office.
“I think we need to be mature about it. It’s something that is eventually going to happen to every girl – to your wife, to your
daughter, so it shouldn’t be awkward.”
In August, the volleyball team launched a fundraiser to purchase products to distribute to women in need. With the help of the Best Southwest Upsilon Nu Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, they collected more than 200 packages of products to give away.
“I’m proud of this program that we can actually do something about it,” Tesla said.
The district currently keeps feminine product supplies in counseling offices, nursing offices and in the Panther Pantry, a place where students and their families can access clothing and other items for immediate need, at Merrifield Elementary School.
Alaya and Tesla would like to see an awareness campaign implemented in middle and high school to address the issue head-on so no young woman feels like she needs to stay home when she gets her period. They hope their service project contributes to a solution.